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New Year's Tea: A Cup of Good Cheer!

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Hello my friends, and Happy New Year! I'm so glad you stopped by ... I hope your week is going well!

Well I may have missed last week's final Christmas Tea, but - since technically it's still Christmas - I guess this post fits the bill. I'm calling this a New Year's Tea though because I'm really talking about "new year" kinds of things today ...

Case in point ...

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We are in the midst of winter term planning!

Well, I am. And as you can see I like to amass a bit of stuff around me as I plan. ;) (Not shown are the tote bags underfoot with each of the boys' primary materials.) My boys however are still in vacation mode for a bit longer - although Crackerjack was to return to outside classes this week. I say "was" because each of my sons has been under the weather for the past several days. Just a garden-variety head cold but boy it's a doozy! My hope is that come next Monday we'll be ready (and eager?) to return to our lessons. (Happily we'll have Bookworm home with us on winter break through mid-month.)

Anyway, in the top picture I gave you a closer peek at my tea ... it was served in a new set of dishes from my mother-in-law!

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This is Pfatzgraff "Heritage Christmas," and I love that the cup is short and wide. It holds a nice amount of tea! (In this case, my favorite wintertime tea, a lovely orange-spice blend called "Constant Comment.") And on the lip of that sizeable saucer I was able to fit two of my cousin Kara's delicious pepparkakkor, leftover from Christmas. :)

As you see in the above pictures, my tea is another one of those "working teas," as its surrounded by books of all kinds. Most of them pertain to the boys' education goals, but a few are meant just for me. As we'll be studying Colonial America (in particular, the American Revolution) this term, I am going to re-read a couple of relevant books I enjoyed long ago - Jeff Shaara's Rise to Rebellion and The Glorious CauseI figured this was a good time to revisit them as my boys delve into this time period!

Slipped in between those two beefy novels however is a newer purchase - a bit of an impulse buy I'll admit, but I just couldn't resist! I was searching for a Mary Berry cookbook (a gift from my boys this Christmas - only they couldn't find any in the stores so they asked me to order one) and came across this curious bit of fiction not at all endorsed or really involving Mary Berry at all ... but it sounded cute and as a big fan of the Great British Baking Contest I thought I'd give What Would Mary Berry Do? a go. :)

Ok, now that we've talked about tea and cookies and books ... let's talk about nature! Did you see your "first bird" on New Year's Day? Here was mine ...

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Well it wasn't actually this one, but it was a Tufted Titmouse! We have a lot of those in our habitat - they're much like chickadees in temperament, only slighter bigger with a crested head and pretty black eyes ... "A noisy titmouse is Jack Frost's trumpeter," according to weather folklore. That sounds about right, though we do have them year-round. I'll have to pay attention this year and see if they are indeed louder in this season of frost and snow.

And isn't this a beautiful bit of nature ... ?

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And such a lovely thought. I found this picture on Facebook and saved it but completely forgot to note where it came from! I love this Emerson quote and this picture is just breathtaking. It is now in fact my cover photo - I so loved the saying and that brilliant sunrise.

Do you make any New Year's resolutions? Or do you choose a "word for the year?" I am saying no to the former and yes to the latter for 2017. Resolutions are great in theory but never seem to stick, really. Perhaps it's better to set workable goals throughout the year as seasons turn and needs change? But I do love the idea of choosing a word to represent one's hopes and vision for the coming year ... 

Mine is RADIANT. :) And by that I mean ... I want to look for the good in the world. That which radiates light against darkness. I want to shine my own light as brightly as I can, where I can ...

Radiant: "marked by or expressive of love, confidence, or happiness."

I would like more of this in my life ... I would love to give more of this to those around me!  <a radiant smile>

Back to books ...

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This is a page from a rather old book I've owned for well over 20 years. I bought it at a beloved book warehouse down the street from my very first job (working at a newspaper). The Wholefood Harvest Cookbook is vegetarian and British and very seasonal in design and content, as you can see above. I haven't read this book in some years but I'm going to have fun poking back through it this month. Making notes about the fruits and vegetables we might enjoy in season this year.

(If I were making resolutions, one of them might be to eat more produce, more regularly ... this is however, a January "meal planning" goal. Is there a difference between a resolution and goal? I'm not sure. Maybe it's all in how the word makes us feel. A goal is something we work towards ... a resolution is more restrictive and well, resolute. Less forgiving?)

So of course planners and planning are on my mind this week ...

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This is a stack of the personal planners I've made over the past several years. Each one a work of love, time and energy ... each one abandoned at some point through its year, unfortunately. I have not yet decided if I'm going to make another spiral-bound planner this year ... it is very tempting. I do love crafting with paper and pen! But right now between my homekeeping binder and Day Designer (and a few other things) I feel like I've got a good rhythm.

This is where all those planning sheets are going ...

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And even though I made month-at-a-glance calendars, I can't seem to let go of my longtime favorite, folio-size, DayTimer version ...

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I'm really loving how the pages came out! The changing colors and quotes make me smile ... :)

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And they fit in my homekeeping binder well - sandwiched in between my domestic journal and the household tabs - but I'm still working out just where these sheets "fit" in my overall planning repertoire. This is a great way for me to see the big picture of each week - the household, the lessons, the seasonal bits and bobs I'd like to include - but do I need a separate spot for a weekly agenda? For time-sensitive activities and appointments and such? I like looking at my week in a spread - when am I out and when am I home? - and that's the role the spiral-bound notebook would serve.

I like to use this particular notebook for planner-making - hint: you can find them cheaper at HomeGoods! - and I have one ready to go if I decide to try...

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I covered the front of the notebook with scraps from that vintage paper I like so much. It ties in nicely with the binder!

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So more on my planners and binders and all those important decisions later - wink - but here are some pretty things I found in my stocking Christmas morning:

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And speaking of Christmas, this was Little Bear's favorite ...

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Santa knew just what he wanted ... his very own backpack just like the ones his big brothers have! Only his is a little smaller and much cooler ... because it's a hedgehog. :)

Now while I'm here, I can't pass up the opportunity to share a picture of one of my cats ...

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If I'm working at my desk, then Archie is somewhere nearby ... usually near a heat source ... and almost always right on top of whatever I'm working on!

Ok, last picture ...

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My brother gave me an amaryllis bulb last month and I've kept it on my kitchen windowsill ... it is blooming beautifully right now! So pretty against all that snow ...

Well my friends, thank you so much for stopping by today and joining me for tea! I hope your New Year is going well so far and that you enjoy the rest of your week. I'll be back shortly with a tour of the binder shown above ... still getting things all assembled and organized! :)

See you here again very soon ...

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